Quality Programs Build with Nature Explore
By Heather Fox, Nature Explore Education Specialist
In Central Texas Sherry Trebus includes Nature Explore Classroom Certification as an integral part of a childcare quality improvement initiative. In Indiana the Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC) will offer workshops for programs, and encourage new outdoor classroom designs and certification as part of their benchmarks for excellence. Why, you might ask?
Because they know — and we do too — building a Nature Explore Classroom is a great way to reach high quality education standards while improving the environment for children and teachers. Here are 5 reasons why:
1) Teachers find that teaching in a Nature Explore Classroom decreases their own stress level and the stress levels of their colleagues.
2) Nature-rich spaces change with the seasons. The constant and gentle changes allow children and teachers to investigate, question and observe together.
3) “Nature-based outdoor classrooms reduced behavior issues among the children, liberating teachers from their stressful role as playground police. This allowed them instead to be more engaged in teaching, playing, and interacting with children in positive, supportive and satisfying ways.”
4) The Nature Explore Classroom certification process holds programs accountable to a formal set of standards that are steeped in good early childhood practice and supported through years of research and field-testing.
5) Children in outdoor classrooms learn in all areas of development and are reported as more relaxed, focused, engaged, cooperative, and creative, when compared with children in indoor classrooms or on a traditional playground.
Tell us what you have seen. How do outdoor classrooms make learning flourish in your programs?
Quotes and content from A Post Occupancy Study in Nature –Based Outdoor Classrooms in Early Childhood Settings by Sam Dennis, Alexandra Wells and Candace Bishop I Children Youth and Environments Vol. 24, No. 2